Take a drive some day out to Denver and the minute you get there you will feel the pulse that has kept Mile High as the most happening and exciting city in the western United States. Part of is geometry–there is no city as large as Denver for 500 miles in every direction. After you settle in to a boutique hotel or a high rise modern hotel, you’ll want to go out and savor what the Mile High City has to offer, so here is a road map to the best live music and dancing the city has to offer.
Photo by LWYang
The place to begin is Larimer Square and Lodo (lower downtown). You might have noticed this area is full of hipsters and fun boutiques selling all manner of vintage clothing, smoking accessories (oh yeah, weed is legal here by the way!) and other things that cool people shop for. After the big western sun goes down, this is where the music happens.
Hit the dancefloor
At Mynt, on Market Street, the ultra cool lime green fabric draped couches beckon you to try a mojito and groove to the house and techno music that pulsates from the huge sound system. Mynt is a mix of latin and art deco with comfy white couches and low tables, plus high backed booths perfect for a close encounter with your sweetheart or a chance to meet someone new.
Photo by Messy Cupcakes
In Lodo, lower downtown, the place to dance is Beta Nightclub. Many of the country’s top touring DJs touch down at Beta and love playing loud techno music on the club’s state-of-the-art sound system. There are three separate levels for dancing and it can get crowded…but you knew that, and that’s what makes a great club. Beta’s owner sets a high bar—he’s the co-founder of Beatport, the website that DJs use as their professional iTunes.
Sway to the music
Bands like the Lumineers and Big Head Todd and the Monsters all got their start here in Denver. Who knows who might be playing tonight, how famous will they be one day? So how about where you can find the local musicians of Denver? There are the former movie theaters, like the Bluebird, the Paramount, and the Ogden, with bigger shows, and there are the clubs, those smaller and more intimate venues that bring the music right up close.
Here’s a few of our favorites. On East Colfax Avenue, there is a neon-lit former movie house where Denver’s music lovers flock, despite sometimes surly staff. It’s the Bluebird Theater, clearly visible by its gaudy neon sign and marquee. There is room for 500 music fans here, and the music is indie acts, heavy metal, and singer songwriters both local and legendary.
Photo by Thomas Hawke
Speaking of the Lumineers (who are perhaps the city’s most famous break out rock band), they used to enjoy playing the Meadowlark Bar. They used to wait their turn at the open mic at this basement bar that can get pretty crowded. The place is not garish and might be hard to find, but check it out if you are in the mood for stand-up comedy, open mics or a new indie bands playing for the door.
Photo by @lovebrianaxo
The Appaloosa Grill has music seven days a week featuring rock, folk and eclectic and groove. A look at their music schedule shows a diverse line-up, all local musicians, from bluegrass/rock to electrosoul/groove to Hip Hop. You an also enjoy vegan and gluten free dinners if that’s your thing, plus a full bar with cocktails and Colorado microbrews.
For jazz, locals will point you to El Chapultepec, one of the oldest clubs in Denver. Their kitchen stays open til 1 am and every day of the week you’ll be able to hear jazz and blues. On Monday nights there is a regular blues jam, and Wednesdays are anchored by the Diana Castro band with different musicians joining the line-up weekly. Tenor man Freddie Rodriguez takes over Thursday nights, as he’s been doing for more than 30 years.
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